Happy New Year! Or as the Hawaiian says: Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.
As most of you already known, my wife and I went for our honeymoon during this past Christmas holiday to New Zealand via Singapore. We can spare you all the detail itinerary such as the places we visited as well as the fun and joy we had with our friends in Singapore & Auckland. However, I would like to tell you the lessons we learned during the trip that has changed our lives.
During our flights, we have experienced two delays. The first one was on our flight out of Jakarta, Garuda informed us earlier that day that the flight has been postponed from 21:45 to 00:25. We asked whether there is another flight that is not delayed, and we managed to get the flight out at 22:25 (which is delayed until 22:50). The second one was during our trip back from Singapore to Jakarta (also with Garuda), where the flight has been re-timed from 16:10 to 20:35. We then asked Garuda counter to check whether we can changed flight, and to our surprised, the system cannot find us in that flight at all; rather, they found our names in the flight at 17:35. Though that flight is also delayed until 18:00, we are thankful that our flight were safe and sound. I don’t need to mentioned that Garuda can really improve their services, but we thank God that we are not stranded or had any problems during the flight. 🙂
2. Friendships that last
When we visited our first leg of the trip (Singapore), we were busy arranging the time when we can meet up with some of our friends there, ex-colleagues, school/college friends, as well as church friends. All of our friends were so eager to see us and didn’t mind to have a long trip from the comfort of their own homes (even bringing their kids – one of them is only 2-months old) to visit us. When we reached Auckland, my good old friend Budi picked us up from the airport, and brought us to Hendra’s place, another ex-kamaaina, to have a Christmas dinner together with his family. We were so touched by their friendly gestures and how they really treasure our friendships. We thank God for given us such great friends and we hope that their lives are blessed and touched by God in a more amazing ways.
3. God’s protection is REAL
On our third day in New Zealand, we rented a car to drive along the north island. We went to the farthest point of the North island (Cape Reinga), and that was the last place we visited using our rental car. About 12 km off the dirt road from Cape Reinga, where our car suddenly skid over and hit the slope on the downhill pathway. The rain made it easier for the car to skid, and we lost control of the car soon after. It flipped over and back, causing serious damages to the car (left-rear axle tire were broken, front bumper fell off, left rear-view mirror is gone, entire left side of the car was scrapped, and the radiator liquid leaked out). We found out later that the rental company had to write-off the car due to the extensive damages. But to our surprise, we are unharmed by the nasty accident with only a few scratches and sore necks. On top of that, the car was not protected with ABS and airbags. The seatbelts held up, but more importantly, we believe that it is God’s protection that covered us from harm. He even sent a couple of angels from Melbourne to give us a lift to our hotel, which is 3 hours drive from the accident site. May God bless York & Helen, wherever they are now.
4. Lost Baggage
When we returned to Singapore via Sydney, one of our bags was missing in action. There is no sight of it even after the conveyor belt number 19 has stopped. We were told by Qantas ground crew that one of our bag is still stuck in Sydney, so we can only rely on God’s grace and hope the bag can be found and delivered to our home in Jakarta. Nevertheless, we are thankful for the fact that we have split our bags in such a way that only the clothing and stuff that we need in Singapore are in the small bags, and the rest of the unused items are in the larger bag (the one that went missing was the larger bag). In addition, we thank God that it happened on our trip back and not during the beginning of our journey. That can simply taken all our joy during the trip. God is good indeed, and our prayers have been answered when a couple of hours ago before I started typing this blog, Qantas crew informed us that the bag is already found and on its way to be delivered to our home now. Thank you, Jesus!
In short, we understand that God is at work, even when we are not aware of His presence, but we can never escape from His love and goodness (Rome 8:38-39). It is easy to talk about His goodness when we see the geyser in Rotorua, watching the dolphins in Bay of Islands, or even when we eat our Fish and Chips at Mangonui Fish Shop, but it is through all the adversities and uncertainties that God’s goodness and love become REAL in our lives. We are now more confident than ever that He who has protected & guide us in 2006, will also protect and guide us through 2007 and beyond. Amen.